Sunday, Jun 24th

Last updateFri, 22 Jun 2018 11am

You are here: Home Content On Our Radar Madmen on the Couch
first
  
last
 
 
start
stop
Fox Meadow Elementary School Principal and Assistant Principal To Take Positions in Briarcliff Schools

Fox Meadow Elementary School Principal and Assistant Principal To Take Positions in Briarcliff Schools

Fox Meadow parents learned this week that both the principal and as...

Art Rublin Completes Three Years of Service on the Scarsdale School Board

Art Rublin Completes Three Years of Service on the Scarsdale School Board

Art and Erika Rublin June 11 marked Art Rublin’s last meeting on the...

Letter to the Editor in Support of Jonathan Lewis

Letter to the Editor in Support of Jonathan Lewis

This letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Jyoti Ruta.

Jonathan Lewis...

Choice Program to Move into Scarsdale Middle School

Choice Program to Move into Scarsdale Middle School

Scarsdale Middle School’s CHOICE program has often been celebrated ...

Boundless Adventures: Challenge Yourself and Trust Others with the First Westchester Ropes Course

Boundless Adventures: Challenge Yourself and Trust Others with the First Westchester Ropes Course

For my 40th birthday, (or was it my 29th?) I wanted to do a high ro...

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Madmen on the Couch

drapersFor those of you who are eagerly waiting for the next season of Madmen, here’s something to tide you over and give you some insight at the same time. Clinical psychologist and Edgemont resident Dr. Stephanie Newman has just published a new book, Madmen on the Couch, in which she analyzes the minds of the men and women in the hit TV show. If you’ve ever wondered why Don Draper constantly sabotages himself or why Betty Draper is such an unhappy mother Newman offers a psychologist’s perspective on these complex and highly entertaining characters.

To learn more about Dr. Newman and the book, we posed some questions and here is what we learned:

What inspired you to write a book about the characters in Mad Men?

I decided to write the Mad Men book while I was teaching candidates at the psychoanalytic institute. I was in class explaining the various ways in which different disorders manifest, and was struggling with how to effectively clarify my explanations and improve my clinical vignettes, when I spotted an article in the Wall Street Journal that described how—in a growing trend--clinical instructors were using fictional characters to illustrate myriad aspects of psychopathology. At this same time I was also intrigued by the very psychologically opaque characters in the AMC show Mad Men; by how well drawn their personalities were and how their complex actions could be elaborated. And then it all clicked: I thought it would be interesting and challenging to write about the show in such a way as to examine Don Draper and company through a psychological lens.

How did you get it published?

I pitched the book to an agent and wrote it fast, so as to coincide with the premier of the upcoming season. The entire writing, editing, and publishing process took about a year—including watching each episode numerous times (which did not feel like work at all!). This is a short time in the world of publishing, but as I said, I had to plough through really fast in order to publish in time for Season 5. I was lucky to work with a fabulous editor at St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne, Margaret Smith, who was willing to burn the candle at both ends and shepherd the book through in rapid-fire fashion.

Did you enjoy writing it and what did you learn through the process?

I absolutely loved the writing and editing process. I enjoyed receiving input about my writing and about what those who buy books might want to read. I have always enjoyed writing, but had never before had the experience of collaborating with a professional editor. Moving a paragraph here and there and shifting the emphasis, even slightly, was eye-opening for me. Starting with nothing more than an idea and building an entire book, word for word from blank page (or screen!) to competed volume, was a new experience. The huge amount of time and work it entailed was what surprised me most—I don’t think I slept for an entire year!

Is this your first book?

Before writing Mad Men on the Couch I had co-edited another work, Money Talks, a collection of papers written by therapists and analysts about the incursion of money, fees, and the recent recession into the clinical situation. While I had contributed a paper in that volume, Mad Men on the Couch is the first book I have written.

Writing about Mad Men proved to be an enriching and all-consuming project; I began to think about the charactersmadmencouch in the oddest places and at the strangest times. Many of them started to bleed into my consciousness and to pop up at the most unexpected moments. I could be in a social situation and would find myself wondering what Don Draper would think about something, a joke, maybe. And I would frequently notice how 2012 differs from 1962, with respect to women's rights and the female position in society; same with the different ways in which people of color were treated back then versus now. I was most of all fascinated by the different family sensibility that existed during the Mad Men era. Today we tend to focus intensely on and revolve weekends around children's activities. Don and Betty would not spend even a minute standing on a soccer field—that’s just not how people lived. While child rearing takes up a lot of space in our millennial brains, it did not seem to be a preoccupation fifty years ago.

Do you think we struggle with similar issues to those faced by the characters depicted on the show?

I do think our contemporaries struggle with many of the same dilemmas as those wrestled with by the show’s characters. They all want to spin their personal images, get ahead at work, and maintain interpersonal relationships. And these struggles and frailties are what make the characters on Mad Men are human; they are vulnerable and they trip themselves up in many of the same ways viewers do. People seem to relate to these characters and to wonder what makes them tick. I think that’s what is largely responsible for the show’s appeal and its success.

What other television shows do you watch?

There are other shows that are psychological in nature. I also like to watch Modern Family; these characters also struggle with everyday problems like image, relationships, difficulties at work and at home, and the writers find humorous ways to confront stereotypes, which makes the show interesting to watch.

What similarities and differences do you see between the Westchester that is shown on the show and the Westchester we live in today?

Given that people have always seemed to be preoccupied with relationships and career concerns, it appears that Westchester hasn’t changed that much since the fictional Drapers tooled around Ossining in the shiny red Cadillac, some 50 years ago. If I had to point to one major change it would probably by the central focus today around child-rearing and children’s activities. Back then there was not a Gymboree or toddler music class in every small town. Now families devote afternoons, evenings, and weekends to child-focused extra-curricular activities. Don, Betty, Peggy, Pete, Roger, and Joan would probably not recognize this aspect of life in contemporary Westchester.

Tell us about yourself and your education:

I grew up in the New York area and went to grad school at Columbia University Teachers College, where I received training as a Clinical Psychologist. I then completed a post-doctoral program at IPE, which is NYU Medical Center’s psychoanalytic institute.

StephanieNewmanI currently see patients in private practice and try to write as much as I can. In addition to writing Mad Men on the Couch, I have been regularly contributing articles to the on- line edition of Psychology Today at Apologies to Freud (for an example, click here:)  I am also a mother of two very energetic young children. And unlike the Drapers, I try my best to host play dates and make it to sports matches whenever I can. We have been in Edgemont for almost 5 years, and have loved living in the area. I cannot think of a better place to raise a family. The schools and sports programs are what drew us here in the first place; all have proved to be excellent.

How do you plan to promote the book?

I am very involved with different social media avenues such as Twitter (@MadMenOnCouch) and Facebook. I am scheduled to appear on several radio shows and possibly some TV shows. And the print media has shown interest in covering the book, as well. I will also be writing about it on line in Psychology Today and speaking about it locally and in New York City (one school has invited me to explain to its parent body what makes Betty Draper Frances such a cold mother. That should be fun!).

Madmen on the Couch is published by Thomas Dunne Book of St. Martin’s Griffin and will be available at Barnes and Noble ($14.99) and can also be purchased as an e-book ($12.99). Check it out on Amazon here and learn more about Dr. Newman here.

 

 

BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS

Good Work

SETTING

Choice Program to Move into Scarsdale Middle School

Choice Program to Move into Scarsdale Middle School

Scarsdale Middle School’s CHOICE program has often been celebrated for its inherently unique and independent nature. Yet a few months ago...

Read More

Around Town

SETTING

The June 26th Congressional Primary Election: What You Should Know

The June 26th Congressional Primary Election: What You Should Know

Many of us are receiving lots of mail from the Democratic candidates running in the June 26th primary for Congress for the 16th district....

Read More

Neighborhood News

SETTING

The 2018 Students Inside Albany Conference

The 2018 Students Inside Albany Conference

The League of Women Voters of Scarsdale selected and sponsored Scarsdale High School Juniors Amanda Glik and Isabelle Riback to attend th...

Read More

On Our Minds

SETTING

Let's Get Ready Seeks Summer Volunteers

Let's Get Ready Seeks Summer Volunteers

Volunteer with Let's Get Ready this summer! As a Coach in our College Access Program, you will be on the frontlines of educational justic...

Read More

On Our Radar

SETTING

Fox Meadow Elementary Celebrates 90 Years

Fox Meadow Elementary Celebrates 90 Years

The 90 degree heat may have forced Fox Meadow Students inside for the 90th anniversary celebration but it certainly did not put a damper ...

Read More

Parenting

SETTING

Boundless Adventures: Challenge Yourself and Trust Others with the First Westchester Ropes Course

Boundless Adventures: Challenge Yourself and Trust Others with the First Westchester Ropes Course

For my 40th birthday, (or was it my 29th?) I wanted to do a high ropes adventure course with my girlfriends. We ended up in the Berkshire...

Read More

Village Voices

SETTING

Letter to the Editor in Support of Jonathan Lewis

Letter to the Editor in Support of Jonathan Lewis

This letter was sent to Scarsdale10583 by Jyoti Ruta.

Jonathan Lewis, a neighbor and friend whom I have known for 10 years, is running for...

Read More

Shout it Out

SETTING

Fox Meadow Elementary School Principal and Assistant Principal To Take Positions in Briarcliff Schools

Fox Meadow Elementary School Principal and Assistant Principal To Take Positions in Briarcliff Schools

Fox Meadow parents learned this week that both the principal and assistant principal of Fox Meadow Elementary School will resign to move ...

Read More

School News

SETTING

A School Graduates 28

A School Graduates 28

Warm weather and cheerful spirits made Scarsdale High School’s Alternative School graduation an even more special event for the graduatin...

Read More

Schools

SETTING

What John Waters Learned at Scarsdale High School

What John Waters Learned at Scarsdale High School

John Waters shakes hands with Dr. Hagerman After 40 years of teaching, John Waters has decided to put down the smart board pen one last ti...

Read More

The Goods

SETTING

Seniors Explore the World of Work During Senior Options

Seniors Explore the World of Work During Senior Options

Yehuda sits happily in his new high chair designed and built by Friedman. As the school year drew to a close, the senior class was immerse...

Read More

Real Estate

SETTING

June Home Sales, Featured Listings, and Open Houses

June Home Sales, Featured Listings, and Open Houses

Here are this week's sales, featured listings and weekend open house:
Sales

6 Wheelock Road 6 Wheelock Road: Exquisite architectural details ...

Read More

Today's News

SETTING

Accident Pins Woman Between Two Cars Near Greenacres Elementary School

Accident Pins Woman Between Two Cars Near Greenacres Elementary School

Just before 3 pm on Thursday June 21, a Greenacres woman was injured in a car accident on Montrose Road near the Greenacres Elementary Sc...

Read More

Arts and Entertainment

SETTING

Argentinean and Italian Cuisine Expertly Combined at Magno’s Grill

Argentinean and Italian Cuisine Expertly Combined at Magno’s Grill

In my restaurant travels through the years, some spots have a special place in my memory. Many years ago I savored many fine meals at Tan...

Read More

People

SETTING

Art Rublin Completes Three Years of Service on the Scarsdale School Board

Art Rublin Completes Three Years of Service on the Scarsdale School Board

Art and Erika Rublin June 11 marked Art Rublin’s last meeting on the Scarsdale Board of Education. He was elected in 2015 to serve his fir...

Read More

first
  
last
 
 
start
stop

Programs for Scarsdale Kids